What conditions does Xanax treat?
Xanax is approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety disorders in adults over the age of 18. Following are some of the anxiety disorders for which Xanax may be prescribed.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Anxiety related to a depressive disorder
- Agoraphobia (fear of public places or crowds that may contribute to panic, entrapment or embarrassment)
- Repeated anxiety episodes
Xanax may also be prescribed for medical conditions such as essential tremor, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ringing in the ears, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Xanax vs. Valium
Xanax and Valium (diazepam) are both benzodiazepines that have similar effects, however, there are important distinctions between the two prescription drugs. For example, Xanax is 10 to 20 times more potent than Valium. In addition, Xanax is metabolized and takes effect more quickly than Valium.
Unlike Valium, Xanax is approved for treating panic disorder and may be used to treat depression that accompanies anxiety, but its safety has not been established for children.
Side effects of Xanax
When taken as prescribed, Xanax has potent and therapeutic short-term effects including reducing restlessness, physical tension and feelings of unease. However, just like any other prescription medication, Xanax has some side effects. Some of them are:
- Sleepiness or drowsiness
- Feeling relaxed or calm
- Blurred vision
- Memory impairment
- Lack of coordination
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reduced sexual desire
- Slurred speech
- Respiratory depression
- Decreased blood pressure and heart rate
People who abuse Xanax are more likely to experience negative effects of the drug. Some of the more serious effects of Xanax include impaired mental function, memory loss and respiratory depression, which can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. People who take Xanax may also experience rebound symptoms when they stop taking the drug. For example, if someone takes Xanax for anxiety, the person may actually experience worsened anxiety symptoms when he or she stops taking the medication.
Typically abused because of its calming and relaxing effects, the drug is often used in larger quantities and in combination with other drugs or alcohol. People who abuse Xanax may feel drowsy, lightheaded, and have difficulty with balance and/or motor coordination. Xanax can also impair memory and amplify other effects, including withdrawal symptoms, overdose and death, especially when the drug is mixed with alcohol and other drugs.
People who abuse Xanax for long periods of time are more likely to experience its negative effects. Following are some of the more serious adverse effects of Xanax abuse:
- Shallow breathing
- Extreme drowsiness
- Slurred speech
- Psychotic experiences
- Loss of coordination
- Physical dependence
- Withdrawal symptoms
Xanax abuse: Withdrawal symptoms
Tolerance develops quickly in those who take higher doses of Xanax than prescribed, take it without a prescription, or take the drug for long time periods, which can have harmful effects and can increase the risk of physical dependence and addiction. Xanax addiction can contribute to withdrawal symptoms when the person tries to stop taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms are usually the worst during the first couple days of detoxification and gradually become less prominent. Following are some common withdrawal symptoms of Xanax abuse.
- Insomnia and other sleeping problems
- High blood pressure